PFF: This Patriots player is the best rookie in the NFL through Week 3

PFF: This Patriots player is the best rookie in the NFL through Week 3PFF: This Patriots player is the best rookie in the NFL through Week 3

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="New England Patriots rookie guard Michael Onwenu hasn’t made much news during 2020, but while most of the team’s rookie class watches on Sundays, he was the first Patriots rookie to get a start this season.” data-reactid=”13″>New England Patriots rookie guard Michael Onwenu hasn’t made much news during 2020, but while most of the team’s rookie class watches on Sundays, he was the first Patriots rookie to get a start this season.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With Joe Thuney shifting to center to replace David Andrews, Onwenu took over Thuney’s spot at left tackle. And Onwenu, a sixth-round pick out of Michigan, was sensational at that spot. He had previously been splitting time at right tackle with Jermaine Eluemunor in Weeks 1 and 2, but Onwenu’s new gig suited him. He finished Week 3 as the top-performing rookie, according to the digital scouting service, Pro Football Focus.” data-reactid=”14″>With Joe Thuney shifting to center to replace David Andrews, Onwenu took over Thuney’s spot at left tackle. And Onwenu, a sixth-round pick out of Michigan, was sensational at that spot. He had previously been splitting time at right tackle with Jermaine Eluemunor in Weeks 1 and 2, but Onwenu’s new gig suited him. He finished Week 3 as the top-performing rookie, according to the digital scouting service, Pro Football Focus.

Here’s some of what PFF wrote about Onwenu:

“He allowed just one hurry across 32 pass-blocking snaps and was a people-mover for the Patriots’ rushing attack, generating an 83.6 run-blocking grade across his 37 snaps as a run-blocker. Despite logging snaps at three different positions in three games, Onwenu has now produced an 87.6 PFF grade for the season, fifth among all offensive linemen regardless of position. It’s starting to look like Bill Belichick and the Patriots got themselves a steal.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Heading into training camp, New England was expected to get Yodny Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, involved in the offense as the third tackle. But while Cajuste continually dealt with injuries, Onwenu captured that role, and even earned himself a timeshare with Eluemunor, which isn’t something you typically see at tackle. It seems like Bill Belichick thinks of the young offensive lineman as atypical.” data-reactid=”24″>Heading into training camp, New England was expected to get Yodny Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick, involved in the offense as the third tackle. But while Cajuste continually dealt with injuries, Onwenu captured that role, and even earned himself a timeshare with Eluemunor, which isn’t something you typically see at tackle. It seems like Bill Belichick thinks of the young offensive lineman as atypical.

“Mike’s shown a lot of versatility,” Belichick said this week. “He played right guard at Michigan, and that’s pretty much the only spot he played. Here he’s worked both guards and worked at right tackle, and right tackle was a new position for him. Left guard, even though guard is guard, footwork is all different over there where he played yesterday for Joe [Thuney]. It’s kind of like playing left handed when you’ve been playing right handed your whole life.

“I think he’s done a really good job. He’s a smart kid, he’s got a lot of physical playing strength, he’s a good athlete, he’s got good football smarts and awareness and he’s done a good job for us, playing right tackle and then yesterday at guard he handled some good situations. He learned a lot and he’s still got a long way to go but did a lot of good things.”

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